A Night of Honors

SSHS athletes feted at All-Sports Banquet

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 6, 2008 - A full house was on hand Monday night to celebrate Sulphur Springs athletics. They had plenty of opportunity.

Varsity athletes in 17 different SSHS sports were introduced and given awards for their accomplishments during the All-Sports Banquet in the high school cafeteria.

Individual accolades were handed out with MVPs named in each sport, as well as the James Cameron Fighting Heart and Forrest Gregg MVP awards topping off the evening.

The Fighting Heart Award is given to a male and female senior who best exemplify the characteristics of Wildcats and Lady Cats. The honor was bestowed on Kelsey Evans and Josh Dunn, two scholar athletes whose excellence on the field and classroom is exceeded only by their Christian walk, coaches said.

Coach David Carrillo had an acronym for "heart" which he said sums up Evans. It is "hard working, energetic, athletic, responsible, team first."

In describing Dunn, coach Triston Abron said, "To know this young man is to love him."

Both Evans and Dunn also won other awards - Evans was co-MVP of cross country and was part of the team MVP award in softball; Dunn was part of the 2008 senior class that was named MVP. Fittingly, Dunn opened the banquet with the invocation and Evans ended it with a benediction.

The Forrest Gregg MVP Award is for multi-sport athletes who show heart, courage and desire above and beyond. Senior Ana Sanchez was named the girls recipient, while a quartet of senior boys earned the award: Tate Ramirez, Brittan Diamond, Jeff Beck and Rodney Evans.

"All four boys represent their parents, school, coaches and community in every way imaginable," said coach Jeff Riordan, who coached all the players in at least one sport.

Sanchez shared the girls cross country award with Evans, while Ramirez was a multiple award winner. Along with the Forrest Gregg salute, he was MVP of cross country and co-MVP of boys soccer and track. Evans was co-MVP of track and MVP of powerlifting. Beck, Diamond and Evans are part of the 2008 senior class in football that was named MVP.

This year, SSHS won three District 11-4A championships - football, boys cross country and girls golf - and were runners-up in four other sports - boys soccer, boys track, softball and baseball.

Below are the MVP awards in each sport along with a few comments from the respective coaches:

Special Olympics - Josh Sells, a three-year special olympian, was first in the tennis ball throw and the 50-yard dash.

Athletic Trainer - Senior Jessica Savage had the highest class average. She was also a letterman in basketball and track.

Volleyball - Senior Kamesha Hall is "a natural leader" who shows "compassion, integrity and honesty," said coach Rachel Curtis. Hall was also a unanimous choice as team captain.

Football - After leading the team to a 9-2 season record and a undefeated district championship, the 2008 senior class was named MVP.

Girls Cross Country - Sanchez, the district individual champion, and Evans, a three-year regional qualifier, shared the award after leading the team to a third-place finish in district.

Boys Cross Country - Ramirez, who won the district title and finished 20th at regional, battled injuries every year including a stress fracture in his femur this fall.

Girls Basketball - Senior Stephanie Conley and junior Mackenzie Cross shared the award, given by coach Tina Carrillo.

Boys Basketball - Senior Jonathan Lee was named MVP by coach Braughan Curtis by showing "outstanding work ethic, taking coaching immediately to improve his game and puts the team first."

Girls Soccer - Senior D'Kota Hutchings was an "easy choice" for coach Martin Bryant after being a two-year captain and playing virtually every position but goal keeper.

Boys Soccer - Ramirez and senior Omar Ortiz shared the award. "Our team went as they went," said coach Andy Holt. "They're like peanut butter and jelly - they complement each other well."

Powerlifting - Rodney Evans was MVP after being a regional qualifier each of the last three years. Evans also won the award as a junior.

Girls Tennis - Senior Morgan McCormack and Aly Jackson, both of whom are four-year lettermen, "worked very hard," said coach James Lovett.

Boys Tennis - Sophomore Zach Adams "improved his game tremendously," Lovett said.

Girls Golf - Junior Britney Cheatham was the district's first-place medalist and led the team to a 170-stroke margin of victory at the 11-4A tournament.

Boys Golf - Sophomore Adam Perry was the team's top scorer at district and won the medalist title at the SSHS Invitational.

Girls Track - Freshman Megan Massey and sophomore Ashanti Ivery shared the award after they both qualified for regional in two sports. Massey also set the school record in the 1,600-meter run.

Boys track - Ramirez, Rodney Evans and senior Daqualin Evans shared the award after each qualified for regional and helped the Wildcats to a second-place finish at the district meet.

Softball - Coach David Carrillo named the entire team as the MVP after the Lady Cats finished 23-11, 8-2 in district and won their bi-district playoff series.

Baseball - No award was given because the team is still playing. They face Mesquite Poteet in a three-game area round series starting Thursday.

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